Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) is on the verge of being sold to Bell Media and Rogers Communications.
Major news outlets are reporting this evening that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is close to selling off its 79.5% stake in MLSE to the two telecom giants.
While bitter rivals on the sports television scene (Bell owns TSN and Rogers operates Sportsnet), the proposed deal has the competitors partnering to own MLSE’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto FC.
The Toronto Sun story said that the purchase price of the Bell/Rogers stake could be as high as $2 Billion and that a key development was that MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum (who owns the remaining 20.5%) supports the sale.
If the sale proceeds, Bell Media also would have to divest its 18% ownership stake in the Montreal Canadiens. Bell also has the naming rights to the Canadiens building, the Bell Centre. Rogers also owns the Toronto Blue Jays.
Looks like non-Leaf fans in Western Canadian hockey markets will have no choice but to move their cell phone contracts to Telus.
Photo: The late Ted Rogers with MLSE's Richard Peddie in 2006 in Toronto - Nathan Denette of The Canadian Press